Rising Above the Challenges
By Karen Beckstrom, director, Columbia College of Missouri-Elgin
All of our students work hard to attain a degree, and very few of these journeys are easy. We have students juggling two jobs and school, single parents struggling to find daycare services, retired military surviving on a fixed income and relying on tuition assistance. And they succeed at reaching their goals.
So what can you do to help yourself be successful?
- Be specific: Visualize your goal as if it is a reality. See yourself walking across the stage at commencement receiving your diploma with your family standing and cheering.
- Determine what is at stake: Why do you want to accomplish this goal? What is at risk if you don’t? Who will benefit if you are successful?
- Set a time limit: Determine when and how you plan to realize your goal. When do you want to finish your degree?
- Look ahead: Identify those obstacles that could trip you up and make plans for how to overcome them. When you are prepared for an obstacle, you can overcome it more easily.
- Focus on the positives: Remove the doubt, worry and uncertainty of being successful. Focus on the excellent test grade or the fact you made it to class in spite of a daycare snafu.
- Establish a support group: Surround yourself with individuals who support your efforts, celebrate your achievements with you and pick you up when you struggle. The camaraderie and accountability will help you more than you imagine.
- Review and adjust: Sometimes life gets in the way of your goals and slows your progress. It happens to all of us. Review your goal and make adjustments if necessary.
- Celebrate: We need more celebrations in our lives. With each small achievement along the way, celebrate!
And remember, the staff here at the college’s Elgin location are here to support you too, so stop in or give us a call when you need help planning your goals.
College COVID-19 update
As you are well aware, we have resumed operations this fall. Most courses at Columbia College Global (CCG) locations are being offered in-seat, with appropriate social distancing, and include a virtual classroom option for students. This initiative expands on our existing expertise in virtual teaching and provides students with access to a wider selection of synchronous instruction.
Due to local and state regulations, some locations are not currently able to offer in-seat courses. In addition, locations that are hosted by a partner institution, such as locations on community college campuses or military installations, may not be able to offer in-seat courses if the partner institution has cancelled face-to-face education for the Fall Semester.
You should contact your location director if you are experiencing symptoms, have been exposed to COVID-19, or have tested positive for the virus. The important thing is that students who are experiencing symptoms, tested positive, or have been identified as a direct contact of a person who has COVID-19 should self-quarantine at their residence and not come to campus, and seek medical attention if they need it.
Please review the college’s full return-to-campus guidelines for more information.
Virtual career fairs are the ticket to your next job
by Grossnickle Career Services Center (go to top)
Career fairs remain one of the most important ways to meet employers and get on their candidate lists for internships and jobs. For obvious reasons, those events are moving online to virtual fairs. And while they are certainly different from in-person events, the goal is still the same.
As with job postings and other career resources, your Handshake account is a great place to view virtual career events. Based on your profile and interests, the system will recommend virtual events for you, and you’ll also be notified when the employers you follow on Handshake are attending a virtual career fair. You can also see a full list of upcoming events via the Events tab on your Handshake dashboard.
Not all virtual fairs are created equal. One might just be an online list of employers who are hiring, with links to a virtual booth that explains what the company does and what type of individual they’re looking to hire. Others are more robust and include the ability to “drop in” and chat with a company’s representative via video.
Regardless of the virtual fair’s setup, you should still go into a virtual setting as prepared as you would be for an in-person experience. Here are some tips:
- Update your Handshake profile. Check that your basics (graduation date, year in school, major, etc.) are accurate. Select the job types, locations and roles that interest you, so recruiters may better know what positions are a good fit for you. Make sure you’ve updated your courses taken, skills, and previous work experience.
- Find out which employers are attending. View the virtual fair details page to see the full list of employers who are hosting sessions. From there, you can click through to each employer’s page to learn more about them and read reviews from other students. Be sure to sign up early for sessions with the employers you like so you’re guaranteed a spot.
- Research the employers you’ll meet. When you sign up to attend an employer’s virtual fair session, research beyond their profile. Check out their company website and search online for recent news articles and other relevant information. This will help you think of questions to ask during sessions, and make conversation during one-on-one sessions you may have.
- Prepare a few talking points. Think of an “elevator pitch” about yourself—a short overview about your background, studies, and career goals. Practice with a friend or family member so you’re ready when it’s time to introduce yourself to a recruiter.
- Dress professionally. Even though you won’t be meeting employers in person, you’ll want to ditch the sweats for the career fair. Dressing up a bit will make a good first impression with recruiters and employees. Plus, wearing your favorite polished outfit will help boost your confidence in time for the event!
- Find a quiet spot and a neutral background. Try to limit potential distractions for yourself and for the recruiters. Plan where you will be sitting during the event ahead of time—make sure it’s quiet and there is a plain background behind you. Keep the recruiter’s eye focused on you.
- Arrive on time. It’s very important to show up at your selected session start time. Being on time shows the recruiter or employee ambassador that you’re dependable and respectful of their time as well.
- Maintain eye contact and practice active listening. Consider smiling and nodding occasionally as you would during an in-person conversation. Limit any distractions around you so that you’re not tempted to look away from your computer screen.
- Ask questions. Bring a list of prepared questions for each session. Having several questions ready will help you in case one or more of the questions are answered early by the employer. Have a pen and paper with you so you can jot down new questions that you think of during the conversation.
The Career Services staff remains available to provide service and resources to our students. We can be reached by email at CareerServices@CCIS.edu or by phone (573) 875-7425. You can schedule an appointment via Aviso, Zoom or Skype as well.
Make sure to review your loan status!
by Student Success (go to top)
The “new normal” of COVID-19 has obviously affected nearly every area of our lives. For those of you on Department of Education-held federal student loans, we wanted to provide an update on loan forbearance.
On March 27, Congress’ passage of the CARES Act provided a suspension of loan payments, a halt to collections on defaulted loans, and set interest rates to 0%. Under the CARES Act, these measures were set to run through September 30. On August 8, President Trump directed the Secretary of Education to continue the above forbearance measures on DoE-held student loans through December 31, 2020.
Now is the perfect time for you to review your loan statuses!
- Know who your loan servicers are
- Understand your repayment plans
- Confirm when you are expected to resume payments.
For more information on federal loan forbearance due to COVID-19, please visit https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.
Your library is here to help!
By Stafford Library (go to top)
We are very excited to have students, faculty and staff back in the library here on Main Campus, but we also wish to remind you of the various services that are available to our students nationwide. For starters, you can review course guides for each of your classes, or search the full list of full-text databases.
Help finding peer-reviewed articles
We can assist you in finding peer-reviewed articles for assignments if you need help. Contact us and we can give you a consultation on finding sources for your topic. If you contact us after library hours, email us and we will contact you the next business day.
Free virtual resources
Many free resources are being offered during the pandemic. Here are some links you might find helpful:
- American Educational Research Association
AERA has developed a resource page to give the education research community, educators, policy makers, and others open access to updates from the scholarly community and important content.
- EBSCO Information & Free Resources
Links to multiple resources for students and families.
- Free Activities from EAI Education
Activities for math for grades K-8
- Oxford University Press
Access to research, support for schools and home learning, higher education, and other useful reading and resources.
- Pandemics: The Invisible Enemy
Pandemics: The Invisible Enemy features important information on pandemics throughout world history. Provides the health and societal impacts of pandemics from an historical perspective.
- Pearson Higher Education Resources
Includes resources for both faculty and students such as help with teaching and learning online.
- Project Muse for Instructors
Project MUSE hosts a variety of books and articles on the subject of online teaching, distance learning, and many other topics on higher education and technology.
We’ve always been available in person as well as phone, email, and chat. Now, we are adding Zoom as an option. To set up a zoom session, use our email or chat function and send us a request, and we will send you the Zoom link to get started. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, let us know! Email the library at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (573) 875-7381.